Havana, Feb 18 (EFE) – Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Wednesday welcomed a delegation of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives headed by Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi who are in the communist island on an official visit to move forward with reestablishing relations between the two countries.
Also present at the meeting was the director for the United States at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, who heads the Cuban delegation in the talks to normalize diplomatic relations, the second round of which is scheduled to be held in Washington on Feb. 27.
The group of Democratic congressmen, the first from the lower house to visit the communist island since the Dec. 17 announcement that diplomatic relations would be resumed, includes Eliot Engel, Rosa DeLauro, Collin Peterson, Anna Eshoo, Nydia Velazquez, Jim McGovern, Steve Israel and David Cicilline.
Only photographers were granted access to the early moments of the meeting, which took place behind closed doors, and no remarks to the press were made by any of the officials.
A communiqué released on Tuesday by Pelosi’s office said that the delegation will work to move the relationship between Washington and Havana forward and will base its efforts on the work done by many in Congress over a number of years, especially in the areas of agriculture and trade.
Besides representatives of the Cuban government, the U.S. lawmakers are scheduled to meet with Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Catholic Church’s top official on the island, local leaders and members of the U.S. Interests Section, with whom they spoke immediately upon landing in Havana on Tuesday.
The arrival of the group of congressmen coincided on Tuesday with the departure of a delegation of three U.S. senators, also Democrats, who traveled to Cuba last Saturday to explore business possibilities with the island.
Sens. Claire McCaskill, Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner emphasized the opportunities in sectors such as agriculture and tourism and praised the “entrepreneurial spirit” of workers in Cuba’s private sector.
[Photo at top of Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi at a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.]